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History of Electricity Generation in Kerala

It was during 1912-13 that the government of erstwhile Travancore State seriously considered the idea of power generation in Kerala. Accordingly in 1913, a team under the leadership of Chief Engineer Sri. S.M Jacob was constituted to study the feasibility of electricity generation in Travancore, Kochi and Malabar states. In 1927 the Travancore Government decided to generate electricity for Trivandrum city and for this purpose an Electricity Division was formed under the Public Works Department. Finally, in 1929, the Trivandrum Power Station, built at a cost of Rs. 9 lakh, (the present Power House) started functioning. Subsequently, many agencies came forward to produce electricity in the private sector.

Pallivasal, the first Hydel Project
The State Electricity Department was formed in 1933, the year in which the works for the first hydro electric power station in Kerala began at Pallivasal, a village situated on the south western part of Idukki district. On March 19, 1940, Sir C P Ramaswamy Aiyer, the Dewan of Travancore inaugurated the first stage of the Pallivasal project, which had an initial installed capacity of 13.5 MW. It was the first Hydro Electric Project in Kerala, set up to serve the power needs of the general public. The State Electricity Department also took over the 200 kw power station ,set up in 1928 by the Kannan Devan Hill Produce Co. The Pallivasal project , at present, has a capacity of 37.5 MW (3x5 +3x7.5) . The renovation of the project was completed in 2002. In order to fully utilize the available water, a new project of 60 MW Pallivasal Extension Scheme (PES) is now under construction.

Formation of KSEB
The Kerala State Electricity Board was formed on August 31,1957 with head quarters at Trivandrum. Subsequently, major hydel stations viz Sengulam, Neriamangalam, Panniar, Poringalkuthu, Sholayar, Sabarigiri, Kuttiyadi, Idukki and Lower Periyar Power Stations were commissioned. Later on, two thermal stations viz BDPP and KDPP were also commissioned by KSEB for meeting the increased demand of Power. At present, 16 major Hydel stations, 15 Small Hydel stations, 2 Thermal stations and one wind farm with total installed capacity of 2186.14 MW are operating under KSEBL. Details are attached as Annexure 1.

Fourteen years after the commissioning of Pallivasal, the second powerhouse of the state of Kerala, the Sengulam power house with an installed capacity of 48 MW(4x12MW), was commissioned. The 300 MW Sabarigiri Hydro Electric Project, which was added to the Kerala System in 1966, enjoyed the special status of having a capacity higher than the capacities of all the other projects (including Sholayar which was also in the final stages of commissioning in 1966), in the Kerala system put together. Sabarigiri also elevated Kerala to a power surplus state in 1966. But the demand for power was steadily growing at a faster pace. Since then, project after project was added to the Kerala power system till 1976, when the first stage of Idukki HEP, with a capacity of 390 MW(3x130MW) was commissioned. When the stage II of Idukki , with a capacity of 390 MW was also added in 1986, Idukki HEP became the largest project in Kerala, with a total capacity of 780 MW. The Idukki project continues to be the largest project, hydro or otherwise, of the KSEBL till date.

After the commissioning of Idukki HEP in 1986, the Hydro Electric Projects which gave significant contribution to the capacity addition were the 75 MW Idamalayar, the 150 MW Kuttiyadi Extension Schemes, the 180 MW Lower Periyar and the 50 MW Kakkad project. After the commissioning of the Kakkad HEP, proposals for major Hydel projects like Silent Valley, Pooyamkutty etc. did not materialize due to issues related to environmental clearance . However, KSEB focused on small Hydel projects and commissioned 15 projects in this time. At present, implementation of 11 small Hydel projects is at various stages of construction.

Thermal Stations

KSEB also commissioned two Thermal Stations based on Diesel/LSHS at Brahmapuram and Kozhikode to meet the ever increasing demand for power. The Brahmapuram Diesel Power Plant (BDPP) , with a capacity of 106.6 MW(5x21.32MW) was commissioned in 1997-98 and the 128 MW(8X16MW) Kozhikode Diesel Power Project (KDPP) of capacity 128 MW(8X16MW) was commissioned in 1999. Recently two units each of BDPP and KDPP were decommissioned due to ageing. One 2.025 MW wind farm was also set up by KSEB at Kanjikode during 1995.

Current Installed Capacity

The installed capacity of KSEBL as on 28-02-2015 is 2186.14 MW and generation capability is 8128.26 MU.
Apart from the KSEBL owned stations, a number of power stations (hydel, thermal and wind farm) were also set up by private agencies for which Power Purchase Agreement has been executed by KSEB . A 359.58 MW Thermal Power Plant was set up by M/s. NTPC at Kayamkulam during 1998-1999 and KSEB has executed PPA for the purchase of power.
At present KSEBL relies on the Central share, the power purchased from the Kayamkulam Thermal Power Plant and other private stations in addition to its own stations for meeting the demand.

Renovation of older Power Houses
The normal operative life span of hydro electric power plant is 35 years, after which renovation is required for extension of its life. Besides, the rapid strides in technology enables the manufacturers of components of hydro generating units to improve upon their older designs and field brand new products of better quality. It is therefore, not surprising that the older equipments turn obsolete very quickly. Added to this is the non availability of spare parts. Under these circumstances, the renovation/ replacement of these components becomes inevitable. The Central Electricity Authority(CEA) has also directed to take up the renovation of old power stations which have completed a life span of 35 years. Possibility of Capacity enhancement / uprating of the machines is also explored along with renovation works.

KSEBL has already completed renovation (RMU/R&M) of six power stations at Pallivasal, Sengulam, Panniar, Neriamangalam, Sabarigiri and Idamalayar . The renovation of three other stations is under various stages. The RMU of Poringalkuthu HEP is progressing and is expected to be completed by June, 2015. The R&M works of Idukki 1st stage (3 x130 MW) and Sholayar HEP(3x18MW) are under tender the stage of evaluation.

ISO Certification was obtained for Idukki, Sabarigiri, Lower Periyar and Malankara Power stations and the process of obtaining ISO certification for the remaining Stations is progressing.

Operation & Maintenance of Generating Stations.
The Operation & Maintenance of all power stations under KSEBL is co-ordinated by the Chief Engineer(Generation). The office of the Chief Engineer(Generation) is located at Moolamattom, Iduuki District, where KSEBL’s prestigious and largest Power Station is situated. There are seven Generation Circles headed by the Deputy Chief Engineers, under the jurisdiction of the Chief Engineer (Generation), to take care of the Operation & Mace. of our Generating stations across the State.